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2014 NFL Season: Pokorny's Week 1 NFL Picks

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

My Week 1 NFL picks are below. Feel free to share your general thoughts on this week's games in the comments section. Note: I made the Packers-Seahawks prediction in another post on Thursday; I just left it in here for record-keeping purposes.

Week 1 Games Explanation Pick
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Minus the Replacement Refs: As exciting as the Packers are going to be this season, with the return of Aaron Rodgers and then Eddie Lacy in his second year, who is going to be crazy enough to bet against the defending Super Bowl Champions with home field advantage? Seahawks 27, Packers 20

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Just Keep on Losing: You know how ESPN's individual prognosticators had the Browns going 1-15? Well, if I have my way, I might be doing that with the Bills this season for more reasons than one. First, I'm biased because we own the Bills' draft pick. Second, E.J. Manuel doesn't seem like their quarterback of the future, and I think way too much stock is being put in Sammy Watkins' ability to contribute on Day 1. Bears 31, Bills 13

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Down Two Coordinators: I think we're going to see some parody in the AFC North this year, with the end result having everybody with a record between 7-9 and 9-7 by the end of the season. I am pessimistic about the Bengals' chances after having lost both coordinators, and Baltimore has some compelling new weapons in the receiving game for Joe Flacco. Ravens 20, Bengals 17

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Foles' Impeccable Producitivity: Just like the Johnny Manziel watch is on in Cleveland, the Blake Bortles watch will be on in Jacksonville. It won't matter this week, though, because Nick Foles leading a Chip Kelly offense seems like a formula for success I am oddly curious how Toby Gerhart does as a starting back; maybe it's the only Peyton Hillis factor. Eagles 28, Jaguars 13

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Upset of the Week: Neither of these teams are expected to contend for the playoffs, but it's my upset of the week because it was the largest spread differential for me taking the underdog. The Rams got a raw deal with Sam Bradford tearing his ACL again, but Shaun Hill is a very capable backup. While I am intrigued to see if Kenny Britt can resurrect his career, the Rams' offensive weapons in general aren't very good. The Vikings don't have a tone of weapons either, but I'll take Adrian Peterson and Cordarelle Patterson over any of the Rams' weapons. Vikings 21, Rams 16

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Can the Falcons Take a Mulligan? Is it possible for the Falcons to just pretend like last year never happened, and go back to how things were in 2012? I feel the team is structured in the same manner, it's just that the receiver injuries and other things kept piling on toward a terrible year. I think they'll be more competitive, and they could pull off a win here, given the Saints' historical road struggles. However, I can't bet against Drew Brees and what looks to be an improved Saints defense. Saints 28, Falcons 24

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Defending the Two-TE Combo: The Patriots were at their best when they had Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as threats at the tight end position. Last year, obviously Hernandez had a slight derailment in his career, while Gronkowski got ACL'ed by former Browns safety T.J. Ward. Gronkowski appears to be back, though, and the team just traded for Tim Wright. If you didn't hear about this young tight end, formerly of the Buccaneers, you will soon. I think he'll be used right away en route to an efficient win for the Pats. Patriots 23, Dolphins 17

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This is Really CBS' No. 1 Game? It's not a surprise that Jim Nantz and Phil Simms aren't doing the Browns-Steelers game anymore, but when you look and see they are now doing this game, it really shows how poor CBS' slate of games is in Week 1. Derek Carr gets the start in Oakland, but the Raiders' formula besides him this offseason seemed to involve signing every dinosaur in the NFL and hope for the best. Meanwhile, the Jets have an intriguing run game, a good defense, and a new weapon at receiver in Eric Decker. Jets 17, Raiders 14

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Tough Call: I feel like I don't know enough about either of these teams right now in terms of expectations, and that is one of the pitfalls about picking games at the start of the season. The Titans are being written off as an afterthought, but they are still probably the second-best team in their division. The Chiefs got off to such a great start last year, but didn't do well to close out the year and in the postseason. Getting a big-name wide receiver would have helped their cause, but Kansas City basically ignored the unit this offseason. Fortunately, they still have the dynamic threat at running back. Chiefs 27, Titans 20

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Flipping the Script: This is probably the most compelling, non-Browns, non-prime time game of the week for me. Robert Griffin III can still make the electric plays, but I'm questioning his mechanics more and more as the weeks go by. Right off the bat here, we get to see him go up against the devastating defensive attack of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. How cool would it be to see those guys just wreak havoc on every play? I think they'll unsettle Griffin enough, and Arian Foster will take care of the rest. Texans 20, Redskins 17

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Late Change at the Guard: Out of all my picks this week, this was the only one in which I originally picked the opposite team (Carolina), but then changed my answer as I thought about things more. Normally, I'd say that the Panthers' defense could offset a banged up Cam Newton, but there are doubts about whether Newton will play. On top of that, the Panthers' wide receiving corp is pretty rough. The Buccaneers will be looking for Josh McCown to do what he did last year -- ball security, and chuck the ball up to two physical receivers (Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans). The late addition of Logan Mankins improves the guard predicament too. Buccaneers 21, Panthers 13

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Blowout of the Week: We thought the Cowboys' defense had some bad moments last year, but this year will take things to a new level. Forget about the 49ers' preseason issues on offense, because they'll be ready to annihilate the Cowboys to open the season. 49ers 41, Cowboys 20

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Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning, II: This will be the second time that Peyton Manning has forced his former team, and Luck emerged victorious the first time around. I bought in to Andrew Luck after his epic playoff performance against the Chiefs last year, but he'll have too big of a hill to climb against a better Denver defense. The re-tooled weapons for Peyton Manning won't harm his productivity either.. Broncos 31, Colts 21

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Monday Night Meltdown: I look at the Giants as one of the worst teams in football right now, and I don't understand why more of the national pundits are still rating them as a middle-of-the-pack team. Eli Manning was awful in 2013 with very few weapons to go to, and he looked even worse this preseason. The Lions are stuck in that "very talented team that can't actually turn the corner" phase, but I think a new head coach can change that -- think like when Jim Harbaugh took over the 49ers and finally harnessed all of that talent. Lions 34, Giants 13

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Coin Flip of the Week: This is a fantastic game to finish off Week 1. The Chargers and the Cardinals were the hottest two teams in football at the end of last season. The Chargers made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, while the Cardinals missed out with a 10-6 record in a very competitive division. My gut tells me to pick the Chargers simply because Philip Rivers > Carson Palmer, but I think it's better to just defer to the home team here in a coin flip situation. Cardinals 27, Chargers 24

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Questions Will be Answered: Is the Browns' defense good enough? Are the Steelers going to be a dud of a team this year, or will they steamroll Cleveland again? Was it the right decision to start Brian Hoyer? I'll have my full preview and prediction for this game up on Saturday, so stay tuned to Dawgs By Nature!

TBA

Survivor Pick: To kick off the season, I'll go with the Bears to take out the Bills.